Can Bulimia Cause Someone to Bloat?
The American Psychiatric Association says that the three most common types of eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and anorexia nervosa. While eating disorders most commonly appear in people between the ages of 12 and 35, eating disorders can affect any individual at any age. Those who develop bulimia nervosa frequently suffer from low self esteem and tend to be perfectionists who are hyper critical of themselves and their bodies. Individuals with eating disorders may deny the presence of an issue in its early stages; they could also continue to feel overweight despite experiencing potentially life-threatening malnutrition.
Individuals with bulimia nervosa may diet often and vigorously exercise; he or she could be anywhere from slightly underweight to obese. On the whole, those suffering from bulimia nervosa tend not to be as underweight as those dealing with anorexia nervosa. This is the case because patients with bulimia nervosa frequently binge eat, consuming an incredible amount of food in a short timespan. Such binge eating sessions could involve the consumption of thousands of calories. One of the hallmarks of bulimia nervosa is a cycle of binging food followed by purging through vomiting or the use of laxatives.
Possible Signs of Bulimia Nervosa
- A puffy face and cheeks
- Salivary glands below the jaw and in the neck become swollen
- Teeth beginning to decay from exposure to stomach acids after their enamel wears off
- Kidney problems caused by the use of diuretics, or water pills
- A sore throat that is chronically inflamed
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder, caused by constant vomiting
- Intestinal issues caused by irritation from laxative abuse
- Severe dehydration from the purging of fluids
In rare cases, bulimia nervosa could lead to complications that may be fatal, such as gastric rupture, esophageal tears, and cardiac arrhythmias. Sometimes, people are unable to discern that a loved one is suffering from bulimia nervosa, as individuals with the illness tend to hide their eating binges. Furthermore, since they generally do not end up becoming excessively thin, a sufferer’s unhealthy behavior could go unnoticed by even those who are closest to them.
How to Prevent Bulimia Nervosa
The Mayo Clinic says that is no definitive way to prevent someone from developing bulimia nervosa. There are several factors that could increase one’s risk of developing the disease, such as his or her biology, dieting, and emotional and physical issues. Bulimia nervosa, which is more common in girls and women, tends to begin in one’s late teens or even early adulthood. Some ways to help steer an individual (or yourself) towards a healthier relationship with food may include:
- Avoiding talking about weight at home
- Discouraging dieting, especially iterations that involve fasting, the use of weight-loss supplements, or laxatives
- Fostering and reinforcing a healthy body image in one’s children, no matter what shape or size they may be; this can be coupled with helping them build confidence in ways that do not hinge upon their appearance.
- Having regular, enjoyable family meals
- Talking to your primary care provider about what early indicators to look out for
Treating Bulimia Nervosa
In the treatment of bulimia nervosa, interrupting a patient’s cycle of binging and purging is essential. However, one must also address the underlying psychological and emotional issues that led to the illness in the first place in order to successfully fight the disease.
Eating Disorder Hope estimates that 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States find eating disorders to be a daily struggle. If you or a loved one is experiencing bulimia nervosa or otherwise disordered eating, we are here to help at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. You may contact us via phone (866-525-2766), email, or by filling out our contact form.